6 steps to introduce a new system to your firm

Any accounting firm looking to grow needs to be prepared to innovate and change. Often, this change means the introduction of new technology. Ultimately this new system will make a process more efficient, boost the quality of your firm’s output, or make managing your team easier (or in the best cases, all the above).  

But the time between introduction and the point where the team is comfortable and adept  using the system is often longer than expected (face it, you want it selected, implemented and working at the same time!)

This is a period that is often fraught with challenges such as the fact that your team members learn in different ways and at different paces; in tracking everyone's progress; and in knowing who is comfortable or who is struggling and in need of extra attention?

This transition can be smoother and quicker with careful planning . You can give staff the instructions they need, allow them to learn at their own pace and on their own, and can keep track of all this easily. What’s more, using Karbon you can also give the team a place to collaborate and assist one another. 

Here is a basic guide on how to introduce a new system and manage the change within your firm.

#1 Appoint a Change Champion

Choose someone from the team, other than yourself or another manager, to help steer the introduction of the new system—this person will be your Change Champion. They can be a volunteer, someone who you think is generally quick at picking up new technology, someone who could benefit from the extra responsibility, or even the person who identified the new system in the first place. Depending on your firm’s size you may want to pick one Change Champion per department or team. 

The role of the Change Champion is to make sure everyone is progressing well, be the go-to person for queries and issues from the team, and be the link to external support (if that is applicable).

#2 Assign onboarding tasks to each team member

Devise some tasks everyone should complete to master this new system, starting with the simplest, and progressively getting more advanced. The idea is that once all these items are completed by someone, that person should be an advanced user of new system.

Paste these tasks into a Karbon Checklist so that you create a clear list of onboarding tasks. It’s a good idea to include as much direction as possible for you team here, including due dates for each item and clear instructions in their descriptions. You can then copy the section and bulk assign it to each team member until everyone has their own onboarding Checklist. This is what will guide everyone to learn at their own pace, in a logical order.

#3 Hold a group onboarding session

To present the system to the team and, just as importantly, explain how they will learn how to use it, hold an onboarding session for your team. This is when you address the high-level issues: What does the new system do? Why are you introducing it? What are the expected outcomes?

Go through each of the onboarding tasks by clearly demonstrating on a large screen how they can be done. Never assume that something is so obvious that everyone should just know how to do it—start from the very beginning eg. opening the app. Your Change Champion can run this part of the session if they are confident enough with the system and have been involved from the beginning.

Make it clear to everyone that they will need to complete the tasks in their own onboarding checklist. By the end of this session everyone should be ready to get going.

#4 Get everyone to share their progress

When learning anything new, it is important that the team has somewhere to discuss their progress, share issues they face and ask questions. Karbon is the platform for this. 

Ask the team to post notes on the Work timeline if they have any questions, feedback or comments. Everyone should also post an update twice a week, answering the following: What did they learn? What did they struggle with? What is one helpful tip to share with the team? Everyone in the team will be able to see everyone else updates and learn from each other.

You can also post updates here for the full team. For instance, is there a webinar providing training on the system you would like them to attend? Or you can use this platform to announce a  competition rewarding the user who masters the system first.

#5 Give extra attention to those that need it

It is inevitable that your staff will progress and learn at different speeds, so it's important that those who need extra assistance, receive it. 

As a manager you can quickly see how the team is progressing by looking at their individual Checklists. If anyone is particularly struggling, why not ask a staff member who is further forward to help them out with a one-on-one training session. Take it one step further and use this as the first step in a staff mentoring program.

You can also keep an eye on the Timeline to see if the same questions or issues keep being raised. If they are, look to organize a group training session covering these so that everyone benefits from the assistance.

#6 Note what worked and what can be improved next time

Improvement requires constant evaluation and refinement. After the process is completed, make sure you ask yourself and your team what could have been done better. 

Write this as a Note in the piece of work, even after you mark it as complete. Yet another beauty of tracking all this in Karbon is that you will have a recorded history of the entire process. At any time down the track you will be able to look back on this to guide you when introducing your next system. 

The ultimate outcome a new system brings to your accounting firm is a positive one, but the road to get there is often rocky. You must map out a route for the team.

Karbon makes it quick and easy to set up an onboarding process for any new system. You can replicate the process throughout your team, and track everyone’s progress. Everyone has the information they need, whenever the need it, and communication and collaboration between them all is simple. As a manager, you can sit back and observe. It’s even easy to use this process to introduce Karbon itself to your staff!

Karbon is a whole new approach to practice management. If you'd like to learn how Karbon can help you make the process of introducing a new system to your team a breeze, request a free trial.